Key Properties of Black Carbon
Black Carbon is formed as a by-product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, bio-fuels and biomass. It is the strongest absorbent of light amongst all the components of particulate matter.
Main Properties of Black Carbon
- It is directly emitted in the atmosphere as fine particles PM5.
- It is highly effective in absorbing solar energy and can absorb million times more energy than Carbon Dioxide.
- It is formed of pure carbon in several linked forms.
- It is emitted in two forms-anthropogenic and soot. It is a major component of soot .
- Climatologically, it is highly active and is known as a climate forcing agent. It adds to global atmospheric heating by reducing the albedo which is the property of snow and ice to reflect sunlight.
- BC emissions are largely done from automobile sources like diesel engines and other vehicles. This comprises 52% of total BC emissions. Other sources include burning of biomass, residential processes, industrial heating etc.
- Largest contributors of BC in the world are Asia, some parts of African continent and Latin America. China and India together contribute 25-30% of the total global black carbon emissions. These emissions are more intense in the source regions which include: Indo-Gangetic plains of India, Eastern China, Southeast Asia and Indonesia, Equatorial Africa, Latin America etc. A large part of people live in these hotspots.
- It was first identified in the Arctic haze aerosols and the Arctic snow.
- It comprises about 30% of the total carbon component of soils. It serves a major reservoir of nutrients for tropical soils.